Saturday February 27, 2021

Probe into large-scale drug trafficking from Netherlands ends

Published : 20 Jan 2021, 02:42

Updated : 20 Jan 2021, 10:10

  DF Report

Picture: CCTV footage of the suspects at Helsinki Airport. Photo: NBI.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Southwestern Finland Police Department have finished a criminal investigation into large-scale trafficking of cocaine from the Netherlands to Finland and its further distribution in the Turku and Helsinki regions.

The case was referred to the Prosecution District of western Finland on Tuesday for consideration of charges, said the NBI in a press release.

The police tracked down the drug-trafficking racket in early summer of 2020.

The police established that these suspects were staying in two rooms at a hotel in the Helsinki city centre and searched the rooms. They seized 380 grams of cocaine during the search.

The suspects were apprehended with the assistance of the Helsinki Police Department. They had smuggled the drugs into Finland in body packs.

“Smuggling drugs in body cavities is a dangerous modus operandi. If the drugs get into your system, you will most probably die,” said NBI Head of Investigation Senior Detective Superintendent Aki Lahtinen.

The cocaine seizure triggered a major criminal investigation. The police revealed four other drug smuggling operations committed in 2019–2020.

The police also investigated the distribution of the drugs in the country and successfully intervened in the activities of two drug distribution rings in Turku and Helsinki.

It is suspected on the basis of the criminal investigation that the Dutch suspects started to deal in drugs in the Turku region through an internet contact.

They had also rented long-term storage facilities in the region. They were planning to extend their market to the Helsinki Metropolitan Area and had signed, on the very day of their apprehension, a long-term rental agreement for storage facilities in Helsinki.

The criminal investigation has established that around 2,100 grams of cocaine were smuggled into Finland in one year. Four suspects involved in the case have been placed on remand. Three of them are Dutch men aged 20.

Five other persons were also arrested or apprehended during the investigation. The police seized around 400 grams of cocaine, around 35,000 euro in cash, and a small amount of amphetamine and other drugs including several dozens of pharmaceutical pills. The proceeds of the crime gained by the perpetrators amounted to around 225,000 to 250,000 euro.

“We maintained active and real-time international cooperation with the Dutch police and the Finnish and Dutch liaison officers at Europol to exchange information and prepare police operations in the case. In August 2020, for example, we participated in searches of the homes of the Dutch suspects conducted by the Dutch police in Utrecht, the Netherlands,” added Lahtinen.

In Finland, a narcotics offence involving smuggling of two kilos of cocaine is punishable by five- to seven-year imprisonment.